Autumns are from a very different breed of bands breaking through these days. Where most alternative, guitar laden bands flaunt their technical expertise or their ability to write intricate riffs, Autumns simply throw off a sound of dirty nonchalance that doesn’t seem to give a damn whether you appreciate their fuzziness or not. Autumns are the brain child of Christian Donaghey, from Derry, Northern Ireland – a part of the UK unaccustomed to this kind of sound circuiting their venues.
I spoke to Christian about the advent of Autumns and what prompted the creation of the band: “Autumns began two years ago this month basically because I was extremely bored and frustrated with the lack of creativity in my life. I recorded a couple of songs and a great label called Soft Power Records wanted to put out a single which resulted in me putting together a live band. I never wanted to be one of those groups who play the same songs over and over and stick with the same sound. I want to progress and as a result, line-ups change with sound. The live set-up now is a two piece; guitar, bass and drum machine setup. I’ll probably stick with this for a while”.
One of the most astounding aspects of the group’s live set-up is the very fact that it is only a two-piece (maximum being a trio) yet live reviews often speak of how huge their sound is. In early and live recordings, it was clear that this huge sound was a result of Christian’s shoegaze fondness. With the Blonde EP, there is a strong influence from early goth rock/post punk acts such as Christian Death and Play Dead’s The First Flower era.
I asked Christian about the main influences on his music writing: “I’m not entirely sure what really influences me and what actually goes into what I create. But at the moment I’m obsessed with lots of stuff. Really into bands like Throbbing Gristle, The Telescopes, Sandra Electronics, My Bloody Valentine and Asylum Party. I’ve also been reading a lot which has heavily influenced me, authors such as Hubert Selby Jr., Charles Bukowski, John Fante and J.G Ballard. I’m also really into the whole existentialist philosophy. When you put all this together hopefully you can see where Autumns is coming from a bit more”.
It seems that a lot of people are indeed starting to see where Autumns is coming from – and not just locally. They’ve broken beyond the usual ‘band-playing-every-Saturday-night’ thing and have widened their fan base to broad, although modest, strokes. Christian said: “I feel like I’ve made a bit of a splash in the music world, in a strictly cult level of course. I’ve released a record with the legendary Downwards label which welcomed great reviews and I’ve toured around which has had equally great success“.
“Things are consistently getting bigger and better for Autumns and I’m really proud about it all. Success for me is just being able to tour, release records and survive but it’s quickly becoming much more bigger and better. We’ve been played on radio locally and internationally. With record label distribution my music has literally travelled everywhere from Taiwan to New York. It’s crazy to think how far Autumns has got to this point, I have no complaints. It’s really great and positive to see my music travelling around the globe and hopefully making some sort of impact on people’s lives”.
There is a heavy focus on physical releases for the band (alongside the digital) including a cassette release of Live At Sandino’s Back Bar which was limited to 25 copies and their new Blonde EP has been released earlier this month on 7” vinyl, limited to 100 copies. “I never wanted to release my music as downloads only. I think it’s really sad how physical art is disappearing. With the cassettes and vinyl I thought it would affect sales because people don’t really use tape decks or record players as much, but with the kind of music I make, the people who are into it usually only buy music on physical formats. Personally I don’t think it’s been harmful to the success at all”,
Some see appeal in exclusivity and Autumns definitely provide for that, while conveniently keeping economically sensible. A double edged sword if ever there was one. Autumns’ Blonde EP is available to stream and purchase via CF Records as MP3 or vinyl here.
Interview by Gerard Ryan // Edited by Ayo Adepoju